Fertility treatment; sometimes I ask my patients powerful questions. Questions that I ask to make them think in different perspective, questions that may help them to understand their own situation and reactions.
A powerful question to a patient that either blames herself for not being positive enough or a patient that finds it hard to cope with the emotional, or medical part of the treatment would be: “If you knew the exact day that you would get pregnant would you experience the fertility treatment differently?
A normal answer to this question is: if I knew exactly when I would get pregnant I think the treatment and the attempts I needed to do would be so much easier and I would be able to live my life without the fear and concerns that relate to me not becoming a mother. I would feel happier because I would know that the treatment is not a financial risk and I think I would feel more energetic and positive!
If the answer to my powerful question would change a patient's experience of treatment what does that tell us?
It is the unsureness and the lack of control in this project that can make the treatment difficult to go through. This unsureness gives the patient a different kind of consequence:
- Unsureness about how much time to spend on the treatment puts the patient’s life “on hold” as they do not dare to spend money, or time, fulfilling other dreams, they are afraid if they do it may possibly affect future treatments if they are needed.
- Unsureness makes it hard to constantly keep up hope and motivation. The patient can be afraid that a negative attitude will affect the result of the treatment.
- Unsureness affects our need to have control in such an important project in our life.
- If we knew exactly how many attempts and how long in treatment a patient would need to get pregnant the consequences above would not be relevant.
- But, as we don’t know I will give you some advice on how to cope with these consequences in a good way:
- If you put your life on hold this will affect your quality of life. Live like you are pregnant when you are pregnant, live like you are not pregnant when you are not pregnant! When it comes to the financial part try to find an egg donation or embryo adoption treatment that includes all different kinds of guarantees, so it will feel less of a risk.
- It is normal and understandable that it’s hard to keep up hope and motivation during treatment, especially when we do not know how long we will need to do it; we need to recharge! We need to have periods when we know it will be hard to be positive, you can have periods when you lose faith in the project as it takes too much energy to be constantly positive. When you feel down think of yourself as a battery that needs to recharge again. I know that your actions are the symbol of your hope and motivation, but if you feel low on energy look at your actions; I guess you see that even though you are low you still continue treatment? Yes? So this shows me that you still have hope! A woman that has lost her hope will never continue treatment. But, do not be afraid that your level of hope will affect the result of the attempt! You cannot ‘think yourself pregnant’ and you cannot think yourself ‘not pregnant’ either!
- We all want to feel control and need to feel control in our lives; for us, this is what a good quality of life is. But, we cannot control the embryo after transfer so stop trying to get control over something that you cannot control! Put your energy and the need for control into a different project, this can be a parallel project to the child project. Plan a trip, rebuild your house; plan an activity that you know will give you energy and an end result! It is important that this other project is concrete and that you are sure you will get a result! This way you will have an unsure project and a sure project, so as a parallel in your life you will have a project going on where the result will match the effort you put in!
What if you knew when you were going to get pregnant?
A powerful question that will show that it is the unsureness and the lack of control that can make the treatment hard to go through.
Take action and try to make balance in your life and create projects besides the treatment where you are in control! This will make you feel better. Then put your trust in the clinic and that they will do their best to create a perfect embryo and make you ready for treatment.
Together you will make it!